Sunday, May 22, 2011

It's time for a do-over

The term "coming out of the closet" is usually attached to the notion that someone is publicly acknowledging their alternative sexual orientation.  Typically they do that because they are tired of hiding behind a veil of lies and deceit and/or wish to appropriately acknowledge the person that they love.  Taking that action used to be right up there with suicide, and certainly in some parts of the world it remains so.

Fortunately, in much of the world, and a large portion of the US, it's now greeted more casually.  In some cases, friends are glad they no longer have to pretend they haven't figured it out.  Other responses may still be negative, but for the individual it's got to be a huge relief to have "that" out of the way.  They can move on with their lives.

However, the term doesn't apply exclusively to sexual orientation.  It can also be used to describe any number of personal attributes that people feel they must hide.  Some come from a silent presumption that their friends simply won't understand.  In the last couple of years I've seen people "come out" and reveal that they've been closet Liberals, closet Red Sox fans, and even (gasp) closet Slytherins.  In some eyes, these are far worse transgressions than being Gay or Lesbian.  In fact, for some, I'm sure they're right up there with the official list of mortal sins.

So, with that in mind, I think it's time I came out of the closet.  I'm going to confess.  Before you jump to conclusions, please take a minute and a bit read more.

When I sat down to write Ten Simple Things to Restore the American Dream, I had a list of about 30 different subject I might include.  The list was long, and I kept adding things to it, mainly because they were things I thought should be fixed.  In some cases, I even had specific ideas in mind.

Without whittling down the list, I started writing chapters.  Some topics didn't work.  Some simply weren't Simple!  I found I couldn't explain my ideas concisely, or even clearly define the problem.  So, those got scratched from the list.

Others got erased for other reasons, but in the long run at least three I recall were scratched because I was trying to stay, more or less, non-partisan.  Given what I was attempting, that was going to be nearly impossible, but I was afraid to lose readers by coming across as too far out of the mainstream.  So, I chickened out.  While I'm proud of the ten I did include, and I think I found some that are Simple, I also dodged my responsibility.

The first responsibility as a citizen of a democracy, or a republic, is to join the public discussion.  Participate!  Inform yourself, talk with others, discuss the options, evaluate the arguments, and then express your opinions.  At times that may put you on the left, and at other times on the right, but that doesn't matter.  We are far too hung up on labels anyway.  You can be, as I am, a social liberal and a fiscal conservative.  You can dislike abortion, but still be pro-choice.  You can support social welfare programs without being a Socialist.

As I wrote, I dodged that responsibility.  I avoided the really core issues that we face, not because they aren't simple (which they aren't) but because I didn't want to come out of the closet.  You can read the book and have no clue about where I belong on the political spectrum.

On one hand, that's fine, because it was never my idea to convince you to join my "cause."  I wanted, and want, you to think, to consider things you might not know, and take action if you felt the need.  Yes, I strongly believe in Vote-by-mail, and it's pretty non-partisan, at least it ought to be.  Some people seem to think otherwise, and I'm darned if I can figure out why.

Now, a few months after the book was released, I've decided I failed.  Yes, I still believe strongly in those Ten Things.  No, I haven't found anything since that time that makes me think I should change my mind.  However, I'm open to new information that might cause me to rethink something.  Unfortunately, most everything I've seen only reinforces my original thoughts.

Recent stories about some banking issues in Germany lead right back to the same case of scoundrels on Wall Street, the recovery is still about Wall Street and not Main Street, our dependence on oil has only worsened, and the citizens of Washington DC still aren't represented.  None of that has changed a bit, at least it's not changed for the better.

However, the book aside, it's time for me to be more honest, and that means coming out of the closet.  It means the postings here are going to become more direct, and you're going to learn more about my political views.  I've decided I don't care, because remaining silent isn't going to move the conversation.

That may well mean you chose not to read any more, and that's fine.  It's your choice.  You can tune into whatever viewpoint you wish.  It also means that I'm likely to ruffle some feathers.  In fact, some might consider describing me with those terrible words.  You might accuse me of being...gasp...a Liberal!  You might think I'm a...Tea Bagger.  In the worst case, you might believe I'm a racist, an anti-Semite, or some other bigoted whatever.  That's fine.  You can believe whatever you wish.  If doing so makes you more comfortable with your pre-conceived notions, that's just fine.  Do not, however, expect anything to get better when you stoop to that level of discourse.

1 comment:

bckylou3 said...

No matter which room that closet opens into you should be proud that you opened the door. I'm sure I won't agree with everything, but your thoughts and opinions matter! I'll, at least, listen with an open mind.